Array Magazine, spring 2017

Page 40

Eats’N’Sleeps Lalo 104 Bayard St (646) 998-3408

Augustine Temple Court Building and Annex 5 Beekman St (212) 375-0010

Italienne 19 W 24th St (212) 600-5139 italiennenyc.com

Rouge Tomate 126 W 18th St (646) 395-3978 rougetomatechelsea.com

Lalo exudes the electric energy of a border town, channeling a true cultural fusion, where Mexican meets Californian and melds with Mediterranean. The menu balances traditional flavors from Mexican street food with trendier, newschool styles of cuisine that utilize ingredients like nutritional yeast and dulse seaweed. Dishes are made to share, and diners with even the most divergent diets will find common ground in fun dishes like the chili strawberries topped with aleppo peppers, sumac, smoke salt, and plum sauce, or the kasha salad with raw crimini, and goat’s-milk gouda. There’s even a vegan Caesar and goddess cucumber salad with brown mole and mint. In contrast to the flamboyance of its menu, Lalo’s interiors are stark but beautiful, with narrow white tables that sit between a mustard wrap-around leather booth. With its creative menu and thoughtful interior, Lalo is a welcome addition to lower Manhattan.

Classic fine dining lives on at Augustine, with both a menu and interior to prove it. Traditionalists will appreciate staples like filet mignon, leg of lamb, and broiled lobster, but Augustine also appeases its more adventurous patrons with mains like the indulgent whiskey burger, the savory sea urchin spaghetti, and flavorful sides, such as the carrots glazed with citrus and tarragon oil. No matter what you order, you’ll want to wash it all down with a drink, and if you’re at Augustine, you should make that drink a cocktail. Much like the dinner menu, the cocktail list splits between classic and creative. You certainly can’t go wrong with a martini— particularly the French martini—but the restaurant’s specialty creations, such as the “Le Fumoir,” with Mescal del Amigo, chartreuse, and espelette syrup, are also worth a gander.

Italienne’s name—the French word for Italian—is a perfect caricature of the place, which combines flavors from Northern Italy and Southern France. With a menu that’s continuously reinspired by Chef Sippel and James King, who journey to Europe every year in search of new ideas, Italienne is a true “old world” restaurant where authentic food meets approachable hospitality. This is evident, too, in the restaurant’s warm neighborhood feel and wholesome menu, which is centered around its grill and wood smoker. Diners can choose from a seasonal prix fixe menu or a la carte from the Taverna menu, which offers tasty delights such as the Siciliani crostini with ricotta, caper, and olive; the Casoncelli Bergamaschi, a roastmeat-stuffed pasta with pancetta and sage; or the Fazio farm rabbit with thumbelina carrots and tropea onions. One must also taste from the wine list, which highlights red from Piemonte and Northern Italian whites, all sourced from lesserknown producers.

Dining at Rouge Tomate is a wonderfully colorful experience, from the green vines that hang freely from the ceiling and the sultry ruby lighting and design highlights to fresh ingredients like purple cauliflower and pumpkin romesco. Most impressive, though, is the restaurant’s focus on sustainable dining using modern, healthful ingredients. Start with the Snacks menu (the guinea hen with radish, prune, and crostini is a favorite) and move on to the Small Plates—the arctic char with beer, cabbage, mustard, and hazelnut is a must-try. From the large plates, the acorn squash with quinoa, daikon, baby bok choy, and smoked onion broth is a winner, as is the venison with butternut squash and huckleberry. Interestingly, the beverage list is even more expansive than the dinner menu, offering numerous organic, biodynamic, and natural wines along with a range of sake, cider, and beer. The service is equally impressive, with an abundance of warm and attentive hospitality that’s missing from many New York hot spots. Bon appetit!

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